Jean Alesi has called for Ferrari to back up Mattia Binotto with “reinforcements” after another frustrating weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.
Ferrari looked to have been presented with a gilt-edged chance of a fifth victory this season and in their home event to boot, after both Red Bull drivers and Lewis Hamilton took power unit-related grid penalties.
In fairness, Carlos Sainz did likewise for the Scuderia, leaving Charles Leclerc and George Russell as the most probable front-row line-up – and that is exactly what transpired.
But even with Max Verstappen starting seventh, the runaway World Championship leader was still able to breeze through to his 11th success of the campaign – which was confirmed when the Safety Car was still out on the Monza track for the final lap, due to the time it had taken to clear away Daniel Ricciardo’s broken-down McLaren.
On a weekend that commemorated Ferrari’s 75th anniversary as a constructor, with the team kitted out in yellow and black and a special livery on the cars, the top brass from the Maranello giants was present.
Although there have been recent rumours about team principal Binotto being on shaky ground during a season when Ferrari have allowed numerous opportunities for wins to go begging, Alesi, one of their former drivers, would prefer to see him receive more in the way of help.
The Frenchman praised Binotto for not pointing the finger at those who report to him, such as the strategists whose mistakes have been under the media microscope this year, just as Mercedes have guarded whoever was chiefly responsible for the design of their disappointing all-new W13 car.
“Honestly, I believed it. I thought Leclerc could win at Monza after that crazy lap in qualifying,” said Alesi in his columm for Corriere della Sera.
“That was not the case and I have some friendly and affectionate thoughts to pass on to Mattia Binotto.
“I admire his righteousness. As a true leader, he protects his men. That’s the right attitude, always.
“Nobody, for example, knows the name of the designer who chose the wrong path at Mercedes, just as anyone who makes a mistake under pressure during a race must be protected.
“As a fan, I am also convinced Binotto can seek, without fuss, some reinforcements for the future. On the strategy front, where a more aggressive approach would perhaps be useful; on the quicker understanding of set-ups, something Red Bull seem to be doing more readily.
“I’m not talking about revolutions but about consolidation on some decisive aspects to counter first-rate adversaries.
“On the other hand, I am certain the reliability problems of this year will be resolved and that Ferrari will be able to run with a power unit that is solid as well as powerful.
“There is everything to keep improving. All that is missing are a few tweaks, in the name of continuity.”